The killing of nine people aboard the ship Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos brought huge demonstrations and condemnation in the Arab world against Israel. The ship intentionally set sail to defy the blockade established by Israel against Gaza. I do not intend to discuss the propriety of the embargo, the justification or provocation of the voyage or the conduct of the parties on board the ship. The New York Times carried the story as its banner headline and television showed the mobs of angry demonstrators in Turkey and elsewhere.
Buried on page 12 of the Times on the same date was the story of gunmen (allegedly part of the Pakistan Taliban) who stormed a hospital in Pakistan and killed at least six people. The local police chief said that "the attackers fired indiscriminately" near the emergency ward of the hospital. It followed an attack by the same group that killed 80 members of the Ahmadis Muslim sect in their mosques in Lahore. The Arab world did not take to the streets over this incident. Terrorists set off bombs and kill innocent people almost everyday, and no one takes to the streets in protest. When Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg were shown on television being beheaded, no one took to the streets in protest. American contractors were murdered, mutilated and their bodies burned, and no one took to the streets in protest. In fact, it appears if anything, their deaths were celebrated in many quarters.
Although I suggest that waiting for all of the facts is appropriate, it may be that the actions of Israel both in connection with the blockade and those taken aboard the Turkish ship are the proper subject of protest and condemnation. I do not criticize the outrage and demonstration against these deaths. What I do criticize is the lack of outrage and demonstrations when the atrocities and murders are home grown. It would seem to me that persons who can mobilize hundreds of thousands to demonstrate against a cartoon insulting Mohammed, should be able to do the same when innocent persons are intentionally murdered, mutilated, burned or beheaded on television for all to see. Where are those voices? Where are those demonstrations?